Dixie Defense the Difference Against South
J. C. Tilton
There is no doubt that South has a high octane offense and on a given night can light up the scoreboard. They like a faster paced game where they get plenty of looks at the basket. On the other Dixie's offense is more deliberate, working the ball for an open shot. But the difference on the night would be the Dixie Defense. Coach Miller's goal has been to keep opponents scoring in the 40's. This night would be no exception.
It was Dixie who opened the game with a little offensive run. They had a 14-4 headstart in the first quarter before South took a time out to get reorganized. South did close the gap, but Dixie had a 17-14 lead at the end of the quarter. Jared Moore of Dixie answered TVS's second quarter surge. JT Stone had tied the ball game at 20, but Moore scored 2 baskets in quick succession to put Dixie back in front. At halftime, Dixie was comfortably in front 30-22.
Dixie played half court man to man defense for the entire game. South used several defenses - a zone, assigning a spy on Moore, and later in the game a full court defense with a trap when they tried to make a come back. South was hampered as senior guard Wes Bassler was unavailable, and Wes Rehmert got into early foul trouble which limited his playing time. Dixie took advantage when Rehmert picked up his 4th foul early in the third quarter.
The South defense was able to slow down Moore's second half scoring, but the rest of the team combined for 14 third quarter points. South's perimeter shooting was shutdown and it was post player JT Stone who did all the South scoring, putting in two baskets. Dixie had broken the game wide open with an 18 point lead.
South made a valiant run in the last quarter. Dixie was trying to slow down the ball game, while South was trapping and converting turnovers into points. Steve Summers and JT Stone did the bulk of the scoring for South, they would both end up with 16 points on the night. Although Dixie was outscored in the quarter, they hit just enough to keep the Panthers at bay - finally winning 53-45. The first Dixie win over South since 1998.
Dixie coach Joe Miller was asked about South's 4th quarter run. “Yes, they hit some long ones. [About Steve Summers range] They can't be shooting from half court - we can't guard them out there! South is a great team, anytime you get a win here, well you earned it. We are playing well right now, it's been a great weekend. A big win last night and we've been trying to hold teams in the 40's. We were not doing it at the beginning of the year, but we are getting there now. Our man to man is getting much better. We are young, but we are getting better every game.” On offense, “We are not relying so much on Jared Moore - he is getting the box and one a lot. Cooper Mohr is getting better, so is Nick Miller, Cody Bates stepped up with some big shots - several games now he has hit two or three big three's for us. Matt Risner is young, but he getting better every game. They are a great bunch of kids and really fun to coach. They want to win and they are starting to learn how to win.”
Coach Augspurger was asked about the loss of one senior guard who was out for the game, and the other senior guard who got into early foul trouble and spent significant time on the bench, “I am not real big on excuses. You play with the guys you have. We've always had guys out. I don't care who you are, you have guys out. My self as a coach, and the players, we have to figure out ways to step up and make up for that. We've got to go about our jobs. Dixie has not beaten us since '99, Arcanum has not beaten us since '95. When teams like that play us and they smell a little blood in the water, it's a big game for them. We did not come out and play them - we had energy in one quarter. They played with confidence. They truly deserved it, they played a lot harder than we did …and a lot better than we did.”
“But it has been a frustrating year to date. We've yet to find the answer so that we can go out and be team that I think we have the potential to be. There are 7-8 teams in the conference who will have winning records. We have to come to play every night, and I didn't think we did that.”
Finally, the coach was asked about Summers and Stone who both had 16 points for the night, “I thought that Steve was a little more assertive offensively. And JT - he's a big strong kid who's done some good things for us.” Comments email: Chris Tilton